Due to the magnitude of the fraud Direct Action Texas has uncovered over the last 2 years, we have been calling for sensible reforms to come out of Austin. One of these is a bill authored by Representative Mike Schofield (R-Katy). House Bill 2139 would allow prosecutors to treat organized election fraud activity the same way it would treat other forms of organized crime, raising each penalty level one degree. Testimonies given in the House Committee on Elections revealed overwhelming bipartisan support.
Stealing votes through mail-in ballot harvesting is not unique to Tarrant County, or even Texas. Last fall, a harvesting scheme was uncovered in St. Louis, Missouri. Candidate for State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr. was the victim of this type of fraud in his race against incumbent State Rep. Penny Hubbard. Numerous ballots were found to be fraudulent. His race was stolen.
Direct Action Texas has been notified that investigators with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) have been spotted in Harrison County. This brings the total number of ongoing investigations due to DAT complaints of vote irregularities to three separate counties.
Last year , Direct Action Texas found that 19.29% of all the votes in the Hill County Republican primary lacked voters to correspond with the alleged votes. Those ballots have been seized by the AG’s office and an investigation is ongoing.
The Tarrant County investigation has been described as the largest voter fraud investigation the state has seen. Mr. Harris, the executive director of DAT, claimed that numerous elected officials in Tarrant County, including a state representative, have been involved in what is referred to as a vote harvesting operation. DAT’s investigation has uncovered tens of thousands of these harvested ballots. The operation is similar to the activities uncovered in Hidalgo and Cameron Counties back in 2011-12. That investigation resulted in numerous felony convictions. While the Tarrant County operation is similar to that of the valley, the scope is much larger.
Late in 2016, DAT received a tip of vote harvesting in Harrison County, located in far East Texas. After a brief investigation, DAT referred it to the Secretary of State, who referred it to the OAG. Earlier this week, agents from the OAG were spotted around Harrison County, including the county elections office.
“The fact that our work has resulted in three ongoing investigations makes me proud of our team and the quality of our work, ” said Aaron Harris. “We are not aware of any organization who has uncovered this much election fraud, much less in such a short period of time. To those committing these crimes – the gig is up, ” he continued.
DAT is currently investigating vote harvesting in Dallas County, which has already uncovered the involvement of both currently and previously elected officials. “This investigation is very promising and appears that it may be our largest investigation yet.”
In 2014, a Texas judge blocked former State Rep. Lon Burnam from viewing suspicious applications and ballot envelopes he claimed led to his re-election defeat. Burnam alleged that hundreds of applications for ballot-by-mail were submitted with fraudulent electronic signatures.
The use of electronic signatures is a preferred tool of illegal vote-harvesters. It allows them to capture hundreds of signatures on iPads under the guise of a fake “petition drive,” unrelated to any candidate election. Then they digitally insert those signatures onto ballot by mail applications year after year, which are then faxed into the local county elections office.